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GOP Abandons "Read the Bill" Ethos in Favor of Obstructionism

November 30, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

For the past few months, Republicans have been trying to claim that the Democrats are jamming health care legislation through Congress as quick as possible before can read the bill and see what’s actually in it. But today as the Senate began its health care debate the Republicans changed their tune and objected to a rule proposed by Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] to require that all amendments be made publicly available online at least 72 hours before being voted on.

“In light of some of the trust problems and transparency problems we have, while this appears to lead to greater transparency, we can also see ways that this can limit the ability for the minority to offer amendments, and, therefore, I object,” said Sen. Mike Enzi [R, WY] in response to the proposed rule.

Ironically, Enzi’s own website states:

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., believes every piece of legislation in the Senate should be available to the public with a full cost analysis by the CBO three days before consideration by any subcommittee or committee of the Senate or on the floor of the Senate.

Enzi objected to the rule on the floor today on behalf of the entire Senate Republican caucus. Republicans intend to flood the chamber with poison-pill amendments as part of their “holy war” to kill the bill. According to the Politico, Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK] already has “hundreds” of ideas for amendments to introduce during the debate. Requiring amendments to be posted online for 72 hours could gum up the works in the GOP’s operation to, well, gum up the works.

Sen. Lincoln, one of the key Democrat swing votes on health care, responded to the Republicans’ objection to her amendment transparency request in a press release. “I was looking forward to reviewing all amendments as they become available, and I want to ensure that my constituents have the same opportunity," she said. "Over the past months, I have heard from many Arkansans who are frustrated and lack accurate information on the health care proposals in Congress. In response to their comments, I created my ‘Health Resources Page’ to streamline materials from my own website and other Congressional resources. I will continue to update this page with any materials relevant to the ongoing health reform proposals before Congress.”

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frankd 02/25/2010 12:07pm
in reply to spender Nov 30, 2009 7:12pm

Too true!!!

frankd 02/25/2010 12:05pm
There were a lot of logical fallacies coming out of the mouth of our president today, e.g., meandering, disconnected thoughts, issue evasions, subject diversions, emotionally charged, but unrelated statements, derogatory insinuations … not much rational discussion, not very very inspiring. God help the USA….

A note from a Heritage email:

“The White House has described today’s health care summit as an open discussion between Democrats and Republicans about health care reform, despite the fact that neither side expects to gain much, if any, common ground. In fact, since the plan allows for federally-funded abortions, Speaker Pelosi … wasn’t sure she would have the votes to pass the plan…. Meanwhile, President Obama’s claims that the bill will bring about positive benefits for consumers simply aren’t true, asserts Heritage’s Conn Carroll. “The Senate bill actually increases health insurance premiums and raises taxes on the middle class by $629 billion over ten years.” "

dsauter 12/01/2009 7:50am

I still think that the bills we’ve seen of late are just too long. The advent of modern word processors has allowed the length of legislation to explode.

I’d love to see a rule at least in the Senate (preferably both houses) that requires the Bill to be read in full on the floor before the final vote is taken. That would reduce the length of these things to something manageable.

They’re starting to look like source code not a code of law.

stevendowell 12/01/2009 3:22am
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+ -1

I don’t think all the senator can read or understand a 2000 page Bill,with all the hidden stuff in it,in 72 hours or 720 hours.I have read some of it and I was so confused that my head hurt

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spender 11/30/2009 7:12pm

It’s almost as if members of Congress don’t really have any steadfast, guiding principles and are just playing “politics.” How strange.

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